Home Care Packages (HCP) are one of the ways that older Australians can access affordable care services to get some help at home. They are designed for those with more complex care needs that go beyond what the Commonwealth Home Support Programme can provide.

Home Care Packages can be an option if you need a coordinated approach to the delivery of your help at home - perhaps because you need help with many everyday tasks, or the care you need is more complex or intensive.

What services can I get?

Depending on the level of Home Care Package you receive, you can get assistance with a range of different services.

What else could be included?

Home Care Packages are flexible; there may be other care and services that are suited to your needs. Together with your provider, you will need to work out if a care or service that you need: 

  • is directly linked to your identified care needs and goals
  • will improve your health and wellbeing
  • is necessary for you to remain living safely and independently in your home
  • can be delivered within your Home Care Package budget, and
  • would be considered an acceptable use of government funds.

A Home Care Package should not be used for, and does not replace, care and services that can be accessed through other health programs that you might be eligible for. You should continue to access these if and when you need them, through your GP and hospitals.

What services are not included?

There are care and services that you must not use Home Care Package funds for:

  • items that would normally be purchased out of general income
  • buying food, except as part of enteral feeding requirements
  • payment for permanent accommodation, including assistance with home purchase, mortgage payments or rent
  • payment of home care fees
  • payment of fees or charges for other types of care funded or jointly funded by the Australian Government
  • home modifications or assets that are not related to your care needs
  • travel and accommodation for holidays
  • cost of entertainment activities, such as club memberships and tickets to sporting events
  • gambling activities
  • payment for services and items covered by the Medicare Benefits Schedule or the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

Am I eligible for these services?

Eligibility is based on your care needs as determined through an assessment, but you must also be:

  • an older person who needs coordinated services to help them stay at home, or
  • a younger person with a disability, dementia or other care needs not met through other specialist services.

Your financial situation won’t affect your eligibility. But you may also need an income assessment through Services Australia to work out exactly how much you may be asked to contribute. More information is available on the Home Care Package costs and fees page.

If you think you only need a low level of support – perhaps only one or two services – you may not need a Home Care Package. You may be more suited for help at home through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme.

Older man with cup of tea

How do I get assessed for these services?

You must meet certain requirements to be eligible for an aged care assessment.

Answer a few simple questions in our eligibility checker tool. If you meet the requirements, you can apply for an assessment straight away.

If your application is successful, you will be referred for an assessment. An assessor will arrange to meet you in person, usually at your own home.

Check your eligibility

Who provides these services?

Services are provided by a variety of organisations across Australia. To find out what Home Care Package providers are near you, use our Find a provider tool.

How does it work?

You choose a service provider that is right for you. The government then pays your provider a subsidy to arrange a package of care services to meet your needs.

As everyone’s care needs are different, there are four levels of Home Care Packages with different funding amounts. These cover basic support needs through to high care needs.

The package level assigned to you is based on your needs.

Package levelLevel of care needs
Level 1Basic care needs – $10,271.10 a year
Level 2Low care needs – $18,063.85 a year
Level 3Intermediate care needs – $39,310.50 a year
Level 4High care needs – $59,593.55 a year

You work with your chosen provider to identify your care needs and decide how best to spend your package funding. Your service provider coordinates and can manage your services for you on your behalf.

What will it cost me?

You’re expected to contribute to the cost of your care if you can afford it. Your contribution is made up of three types of fees:

  1. Basic daily fee (up to $12.75 from 20 March 2024)
    Your provider may ask you to pay a basic daily fee based on your home care package level.

  2. Income tested care fee (up to $36.60 from 20 March 2024)
    Some people may also have to pay an income tested care fee. Whether you pay it, and how much of it you pay, is determined through a formal income assessment from the Services Australia. If you have to pay this fee, there are annual and lifetime limits on how much you can be asked to pay.
  3. Additional fees
    Any other amount you have agreed to pay for extra care and services that wouldn’t otherwise be covered by your Home Care Package. You can read more about the fees, caps, and how to use your package funds on our Home Care Package costs and fees page.

    To get an estimate of the fees you may be asked to pay, use our fee estimator.

How long will it take to get a Home Care Package?

After you have been assessed as being eligible, how long it takes to get a Home Care Package depends on what package level you are eligible for.

How urgently someone needs services can also impact how long it may take to receive a Home Care Package. Those with higher or more urgent needs are prioritised to receive services.

For people with a medium priority, the expected wait time for an approved Home Care Package is:

Package levelApproximate wait time
Level 1Less than 1 month
Level 23 - 6 months
Level 39 - 12 months
Level 46 - 9 months

* Last revised 31 May 2024

Mary's experience

Watch how Mary was able to receive the right aged care services with a Home Care Package.

MARY: It’s a good place to begin at the beginning. My name is Mary. We landed in 1969, with 13 bags, that trunk and nothing else, just us. I was diagnosed in January last year with Parkinson’s, so you just adjust to that.

The care package is assessed on your income, they assess you by levels of your need and I’m a Level Two.
It’s such a good system. Anything you want to know about what’s going on or what is available to you is on the My Aged Care website.